Concluding 2011

Yes!!! I survived and finished all my papers and exams for my first quarter in seminary! While I feel somewhat relieved, I know I am going to be back in school in 2 days 🙂

My first quarter in seminary was very beneficial for me. It was a wake up call for me. In what I remember from undergrad, as I graduated 2 years ago, I do not remember reading this much . Maybe I didn’t read everything I was supposed to back then, but through out the quarter, I kept trying to get all my reading dine for the previous day. This seemed weird for me, but kind of cool. I learned how to speed read. However most of the time, I didn’t want to speed read because I truly enjoyed all of the subjects in which my classes were discussing. It seems that all my peers were feeling the same way, yet I wanted to do better. It really is hard to cover all the information 10 weeks.

I came to a realization about why God has brought me to Fuller. He is teaching me to be not be flexible in what I believe , however He wants me to learn to be flexible in how I carry that belief out. He is continually growing and strengthening me theologically. But He is teaching me to be flexible in accepting different expressions of the Christian faith. I think one of the problems of the church is that we forget to rely on Jesus and the Holy Spirit in everyday life.

We, as well, have gotten involved with our church that we have found here in LA. I truly can say I love it! This is one of the times that I really feel like I am getting fed as well as helping  others. It truly has been a long time since I have had this feeling. As well, the guys of our community group have started studying a book study in the book Disciplines of a Godly Man. We are very excited and I am just amazed the vulnerability and authenticity of our conversations that happened at our last meeting. I truly feel like some of these guys are my brothers and I can truly be vulnerable with them. I look forward to each time we are able to commune with our Reality LA family.

We also have started to talk with a mission organization that is trying to start up a long term missions program. I was able to have a Skype call with one of their leaders and he seems very excited and optimistic about developing a team in Romania. When I talked with them, some of the fears we have about mission organizations were truly relieved within the first 15 minutes, which really has not happened yet in any other conversations that we have had. Whether or not we go with this organization, it is encouraging that we don’t have unrealistic expectations for mission organizations. When we felt stuck and just having to accept one, God revealed to us that He has more in store.

Through out this quarter God continues to show me truly how great He is! Just with the provision of Lauren’s jobs, finding good friends at Fuller, finding Reality LA, and this mission organization hunt, one thing does stay constant and it is the fact that God has provided things to us when we need them. We may have thought, “oh I need that earlier”, but truly God has given us everything we need when we truly have needed them.

Our marriage has continued to grow over these four months and it has truly been wonderful. We have come to realize that marriage is like a big mirror. You are always reflecting on how you and your husband or wife interact with each other. We cannot tell you how many times we have told the other, “you are acting like you dad” or “do you realize your mom does that.” We are learning so much about ourselves and each other and having fun deciding how our family will be different from our parents and what we want to do the same.

It is hard to believe everything that we have done in 2011. In January, we started planning our wedding. Jeff came home from Romania in March. Lauren graduated in May and Jeff was accepted into Fuller Theological Seminary. We took at trip to California in July to find housing, and that week we signed the lease. We got married in August, honeymooned in Jamaica, and then traveled across the USA for a week. On September 1st we moved into our house in Pasadena and that month Jeff started at Fuller. In October we found Reality LA, our home church. And in December we were grateful to have the opportunity to go back to Georgia for Christmas and spend time with our families and friends.

Before we went back to Georgia, we called Georgia “home.”  We told our friends we were going “home” for Christmas. Now that we have spent time in our childhood homes, we realized that wasn’t home anymore. We can to the realization that our home was in Pasadena and we were now in our Parent’s homes. This realization may have come to some sooner who are able to visit family more often but coming back from Christmas was the first time that we felt like Georgia was not home anymore. We are happy to have had the time with them and see friends but it is nice to be back. We are excited about what 2012 may bring for us.

God  Bless,
The Cardells

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